HIV Trial Declared "Breakthrough" Of The Year
The clinical trial that showed that HIV drugs were just as effective as condoms as a way to prevent transmission of the virus was declared the Breakthrough of 2011 by Science Magazine last Thursday. According to Yahoo’s Relaxnews, the top 10 list compiled annually by the American Association for the Advancement of Science also included the acquisition of asteroid dust by a Japanese spacecraft and progress toward a malaria vaccine.
But it was progress made in the fight against AIDS that claimed the top spot. The international HIV trial showed that people taking anti-retroviral drugs to treat the virus reduced their risk of heterosexual transmission to partners by 96 percent. Relaxnews described the trial as a “tipping point” in AIDS work.
“People were interested in the idea of treatment as prevention, but it created a hurricane-force wind behind this strategy,” said lead investigator Myron Cohen.
The trial, which had been ongoing since 2007, observed 1,763 heterosexual couples from Botswana, Brazil, India, Kenya, South Africa, Thailand, the United States and Zimbabwe. One of the partners was HIV positive at the beginning of the study. Researchers found that those who used anti-retroviral drugs were just as likely to prevent partner transmission as those who used condoms.